The U.S. Travel Association said it will work closely with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to monitor the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) implementation. The association wants to ensure that travelers are not unduly inconvenienced and that the new border security program does not negatively impact business. The new program took effect June 1 and impacts land and sea borders between the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda.
"Because of communications and facilitation enhancements encouraged by Members of Congress and the U.S. Travel Association, today's implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative by the Department of Homeland Security is likely to go more smoothly than it would have had the program been rushed into place in 2007 or 2008. In recent months, DHS has made important progress in installing necessary technology at the borders, providing additional travel document options for travelers and enhancing public awareness,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of U.S. Travel said.
"DHS has told us that they are prepared to efficiently process American and foreign citizens at our borders, and that they will be 'flexible and practical' in their implementation of the mandatory system in order to avoid costly delays. We will work closely with DHS and others to monitor WHTI implementation and ensure that while border security is maintained, travelers are not unduly inconvenienced and business is not negatively impacted by this new program,” Dow said in a statement.
U.S. Travel supported a delay of WHTI land and sea implementation by Congress in December 2007 due to concerns that infrastructure and communication efforts were inadequate. U.S. Travel also championed Congressional efforts to direct funds for additional WHTI technology and communications to the Department of Homeland Security. Visit www.ustravel.org.